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[Tucson 2007] Tucson the first time

Hi all

I’m brand new to Ganoksin. I’m a an art student studying
metalsmithing at a university and am preparing to attend Tucson for
the first time. I hope to qualify for entrance into the GJX and AGTA
wholesale shows. (I have a tax i.d. #) Assuming I get in, my
question is this: Will dealers accept Visa or cash only or both? Are
the prices better if you have cash vs. credit?

Another concern (even though it may seem petty.) Will I be treated
more professionally if I am dressed in “business casual” attire when
dealing with high-end gem dealers? Or is it “anything goes” in terms
of dress code? I want to establish business relationships with
specific dealers and want to be treated well, even though I am an
individual designer new to the industry and not a huge company.

Any advice on how to transport purchases from show to show, not only
for safety but convenience as well? (i.e. pilot’s bag, messenger
bag, gem storage containers)

And lastly, I only have three days to attend. GJX and AGTA are my
priorities for Day 1 and Day 2. What should be the show not to miss
for Day 3?

I wish I could take Karen Christians “Taste of Tucson” class but
alas, I am arriving the day it is being offered.

I am intimidated at the prospect of attending these shows so
inexperienced and can obviously use advice from seasoned show

Sherri Strandberg
Aeterna Metals


You are in for a treat!

Have business cards with you. A must, along w/ your seller’s permit
(bring extra copies).

After you register at the first show you attend, pick up the
complimentary Tucson Show Guide, which is available at all of the
venues. Just ask a security person if you don’t see it.

The listings in the Show Guide are enormous. You can accomplish a
lot and won’t waste as much time if you map out your strategy. So sit
down w/ the Guide, look in the back section where products are listed
alphabetically. Mark the booths at corresponding shows (toward the
front all are listed by page no.) and hit the bricks.

Dress business casual at all venues; wear comfortable shoes; use a
back pack or over-the-shoulder bag that will hold your heavy Show
Guide and all of your purchases. Credit cards and cash, even checks
are good. Not much wheelin’ and dealin’ at Tucson. The vendors have
to make their cost of booth (expensive), travel (expensive), lodging
(very expensive), and meals. I do occasionally ask, “Respectfully, is
this a firm price?” Of course, w/ your seller’s permit (which they
may want to see, even though you have registered) you will not pay
tax on goods; tools, yes, but gems, etc. no. Ask for business cards;
write on the card what you found there, the date and location (for
next year’s reference). Make sure all receipts have all the info you
need and keep in plastic bag w/ your purchase. I bring extra little
plastic baggies and small permanent markers.

As for more shows to see, don’t miss the Idar-Oberstein group at the
Hotel Arizona right downtown w/in walking distance of AGTA and GJX.
You will need to register at the hotel venue (has been in the back of
the hotel in the past years). There is a German group not to miss at
the Starr Pass (GLDA), also. Shuttle for Starr Pass is downtown at a
Mexican restaurant right near the Convention Center.

Try to get down to the Holidome at the Holiday Inn (down toward the

Those are the venues I wouldn’t miss if you can only be there 3 days
and are looking for gems, etc.

Good luck and ENJOY!
Kay Taylor

Hi all, even the biggest gem dealers who are doing the buying mostly
wear comfy clothing and shoes, quality but dressy casual is all
that’s needed, and at the end of the day the seller will soon take
you seriously on how you do business not on how you are dressed.
Money and sales speak volumes.

The sellers will soon work out if you are serious or a tyre kicker
and a time waster.

At the shows wholesalers simply don’t have the time to educate you
so please remember this when you are making contact with potential
suppliers. Make contact with them and take their card and leave yours
with them with a few details that may help id you when the supplier
gets home.

Do follow up on suppliers that you don’t get time to deal with and
mention the fact that you seen their products at Tucson. Tucson is a
huge show and tell and most dealers will do the show at Tucson just
to keep in touch with a lot of their clients and pick up sales during
the year from contacts made there.

I hope you have a ball but too be honest 3 days is no time at all to
even get your bearings at Tucson but non the less you should see
enough for you to plan your next trip better.

Christine Roussel

Dear Sherri,

You may not be able to get admittance to AGTA with just a tax id
number. Try contacting AGTA to register ahead of time. They often ask
for invoices from known jewelry suppliers in addition to your
business license to prove you are a legitimate jewelry business.

GJX is less stringent in there requirements for admittance. Business
casual is the overall dress at Tucson. Cash or checks are good,
charge cards cost the vendor a percentage of the sale and they will
pass that on to you. Carry your purchases in a handbag or ladies
brief case, anything larger like a messenger bag will attract

What not to miss depends on what your looking for. Rio Grande
"catalog in motion" is always good to attend.

Nanz Aalund
Associate Editor / Art Jewelry magazine
21027 Crossroads Circle / Waukesha WI 53187-1612
262.796.8776 ext.228


These are wise words indeed. Don’t try to see the entire show in a
short time, but rather concentrate on a few specific venues geared
towards your interest.

Wear very comfortable shoes, bring water and some snacks like
carrots. Do your munching and drinking away from the booths. Bring a
loupe to wear around your neck. Some stones are hard to see. Take
business cards and bring a pen or pencil. Write down what you liked
on the back so you will remember the suppliers.

Money talks, cash is better than Visa. Checks work well.

If you are buying opals for example and end up at GJX, circulate to
every opal dealer without looking at anything else. It’s hard not to
look at the dizzying eye candy of stuff.

The first few years I attended Tucson, I came home with stones that
are still sitting in my box waiting for completion. That was in 1998!

The most important aspect of the Tucson Gem Show? Have fun! I still
haven’t seen half the show, but plan to see Rodeway and visit Mike
McKinnon, the Holiday Inn and some of the bead pavallions.

Have fun and don’t forget, pace yourself.


School for Jewelry and the Metalarts
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
781 891 3854